Today a learning opportunity arose with a student who was working towards completing a project for my Honors Civics class. The student had embedded a Voki into his Wix website. The Voki was showing on the page, but no audio would play.
Several quick tests eliminated browser compatibility issues, java and/or flash issues, and web filter issues. Other students who were in my room from their study hall soon joined in. We experimented a bit, re-recording another Voki, checking the audio in the original, we even looked at the html code, though neither of us know code. None of the experiments turned up a solution, although I noticed that the Voki was being cut off at the bottom on the webpage. Wix does state that html is in beta and not fully supported, but I did not believe that was an issue.
One last trial turned out to be the solution and it was so easy, even an old teacher like myself could do it. We simply clicked on the html widget box,on the edit view of the Wix page, and dragged a corner of the box to resize the widget. We republished the site and found that Voki now had the “Play” button partially showing on the webpage. The student repeated the process and realigned the widget on the page. There were several more alterations needed on the site, but the lesson worked across the pages.
It was nice to see an easy fix to a unique situation. All students involved learned more than just a quick fix to a simple issue. They learned to not stress when things go wrong and sometimes it takes more than one try to fix a problem; even for someone who seems to usually know what he doing with classroom technology.
Well, we in Pennsylvania we have new(er) standardized tests, the Keystone Exams. It was my distinct pleasure to be permitted to proctor them this year, sarcasm is intended. I hate standardized tests, but that is a rant for another post. The state window for testing started after Thanksgiving break and ended a week or so after we got back, sorry, but I do not pay attention to such details, I just focus on when we HAVE to take them in our school. Our district took the tests right out of the gate following break; if you have to do it, just jump right in and start. With the majority of my students testing at least one of the three scheduled days I knew I would not be able to accomplish much. My students would either be testing and out of my class, or coming into class after testing and have their brains fried to a mush-like substance. All students who missed class would need filled in, and students who had their brains curdled would need remediated…what a world, what a world.
I chose to jump into collaborative project week and expand the assignment by a week. Each of my subject classes had a different project focus of topic, but similar style projects to create. Podcasts, websites, videos, to combinations of such things were highly encouraged. Students were to use the new iPads or their own personal mobile devices to work on the projects. With a week of near empty classes, or classes filled with zombified students I rolled out the projects.
We started slow, students used Google Docs to sign up for groups, topics of research/presentation, and methods of presenting. We brainstormed ideas of research together as group, discussing why topics were of interest and should they be accepted. As usual, Edmodo was used as the mothership platform for communication and organization of the classes. This first week went well, students were able to accomplish work and decompress from the testing. The opportunity to collaborate, socialize, and have others to lean on was a major benefit for the students. Those students who did not have to test benefited from not having to do extra assignments, or busy work as they call it. As you will see in my next post, students who missed for testing even started the projects while away from class.
While I still thoroughly despise such tests, I now have a worthwhile concept to get my students involved in while we grind out these mandatory requirements.